Race Report: The All-Star RaceMay 18, 2014
This year’s Sprint All-Star race consisted of 90 total laps around the 1.5-mile oval at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The 90 laps were run in five segments, including four 20-lap segments and a final 10-lap dash to the finish. Pit stops were optional through the first three segments. Upon conclusion of the fourth 20-lap segment the running order was adjusted based upon the average finish from the first four segments. Pit road then opened for a mandatory four-tire stop and the order of the cars returning to the track determined how they took the green flag for the fifth and final segment.
Hamlin started his No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota in 22nd and was able drive his way to 19th while battling tight handling conditions during the opening 20-lap segment. Crew chief Darian Grubb made the call for track position and the 11 car did not pit when the remainder of the field came down pit road. That allowed the FedEx Camry to restart the race from the lead and Hamlin did a tremendous job holding the top spot for the opening five laps until his teammate Busch got in an accident bringing out a caution. With older tires Hamlin would drop several positions on the ensuing restart and felt a tire going down with two laps left in the segment causing him to drop to the back of the pack just before the completion of 20 laps. He would finish the third segment in 12th and tremendous work by his FedEx crew on pit road would allow him to restart the final 20-lap segment in ninth. Hamlin would complete that final segment in ninth which left him to enter the pits in 11th for a mandatory final four-tire stop. Once again his FedEx crew delivered making up an incredible four positions and allowing him to restart seventh for the final 10-lap segment. Hamlin would get caught in a three-wide situation on the final restart causing him to drop several spots. He would go on to finish ninth.